A Brief History: The USS Salem docked in Quincy, Massachusetts is host to the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum. Located at 739 Washington Street, it sits in permanent birth. However, before it was reincarnated as a museum; the USS Salem was a Des Moines class heavy cruiser, and Flagship of the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.

Construction of the USS Salem began in 1943 during World War II. By the time she was ready for sea trials in 1947 the war was over. On May 14, 1949 the USS Salem was commissioned in the Boston Navy Yard. She spent the next 10 years sailing around the Mediterranean. During those 10 years the USS Salem never fired a shot in combat. She was however involved in many diplomatic situations during the Cold War. She carried important people such as the US Ambassador to Spain John D. Lodge, Naval Undersecretary Thomas Gates, the Shah of Iran, royalty of Greece, and President of Lebanon. She also came to rescue of the people of Greece offering humanitarian aid after an earthquake.  During 1959 the USS Salem was decommissioned and sent to be part of Atlantic Reserve Fleet in case she was ever needed again. In 1994 the USS Salem was selected to become a museum and was sent up to Massachusetts. On May 14, 1995 she opened her doors to the public as the United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum.

Haunted History: Once the USS Salem had begun its second life as a museum strange stories began being told by those visiting the ship. Many people claim to see and hear what they believe is a sailor still working on machinery near the bow of the ship. It is believed that the spirit of John, a former ship volunteer, haunts the anchor room where he was found deceased. Strange sounds are said to come from the bakery of the ship, and in the operating room people report hearing a woman yelling “Get it out, ouch.” During an investigation LIPI investigators heard banging noises inside the anchor room that they were unable to trace to anything on the ship. That was followed by the sound of something dragging along the floor. Also, during a search of the geedunk (snack bar) 2 investigators thought they heard a female voice say “hey guys.” While the USS Salem no longer sails the oceans of the world, perhaps some of its former crew still does their part in keeping ship ready for a mission that will never come.



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